Timothy Geithner: A Hit Man for American Democracy
The Con-Artist Wing of the Democratic Party
Ultimately, Geithner was a hit man for American democracy—and the middle class that sustained it. Geithner has acknowledged substantial fraud in the crisis, but he won’t even deign to answer why the administration did nothing about the individuals who perpetrated it. He doesn’t discuss distributional questions from the bailout. He sneers at the notion of justice. He argues for “anti-democratic” measures in a financial crisis, including emergency powers for the president similar to those the president has for national security. He won’t really explain why he refused to fight for writing down mortgage debt, or even what his role was in doing so. Geithner even takes time to knock Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s handling of the Great Depression. In other words, Geithner never grapples with any of the political or moral consequences of what he did. It’s just TARP-made money, baby! Or, as I’ve laid out, buckets of lies, misstatements, and omissions.
Geithner is at heart a grifter, a petty con artist with the right manners and breeding to lie at the top echelons of American finance at a moment when the government and financial services industry needed someone to be the face of their multi-trillion dollar three card monte. He’s going to make his money, now that he’s done living his life of fantastic power after his upbringing of remarkable mysterious privilege. After reading this book and documenting lie after lie after lie, I’m convinced that there’s more here than just a self-serving corrupt official. There’s an entire culture, of figures at Treasury, the Federal Reserve, in the entire Democratic Party elite structure, and in the world of journalism, a culture in which Geithner is seen as some sort of role model.
Americans may not get the reckoning, investigations, and jail time for wrongdoers, including Geithner himself, which they want, at least not now. But they don’t have to buy Geithner’s version of events. Far less important than what kind of regulation is in place is the ethical and cultural question of whether people like Tim Geithner can continue to lie, cheat, and steal at the highest reaches of government. Hopefully, Americans have learned enough from the financial crisis so that the answer will be no.
Be sure to read the full article by Matt Stoller here…
From 2009 to 2010, Matt Stoller worked on the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as a congressional staffer.